10 Surprising Questions To Ask Before Leasing a New Office Space.

Cresa Ottawa

Cresa is the world’s most trusted occupier-centric commercial real estate firm. We exclusively represent commercial tenants and solely focus on finding the best office space that drives superior results for your business.

March 04, 2020

How to identify costly and annoying details about your potential new office building.

When looking for a new workplace, companies tend to focus on the actual office space. But anyone who has endured an endless morning elevator wait knows that the building itself can make or break an office experience. Asking—and answering—the following questions on all building tours can unearth potential issues, save your company money and make your next work environment much more pleasant.

1. If you were a visitor, would you know where to go?

Not every building has an obvious path to the elevators or suites. You probably don’t want clients and delivery people to navigate a labyrinth.

2. What’s the lobby like?

You’ll want to know if it’s attended (or not), security measures during and after work hours, and whether the size might hinder the flow of foot traffic. Also, if impressing clients is important to your business, does it suit your style?

3. What’s the after-hours protocol?

Here, two things matter most: safety and access. So, are there security personnel, cameras and/or doors that lock? And can team members access the building on weekends if necessary?

4. How many floors and tenants are in the building?

This is especially relevant when you realize commercial leases often involve splitting building costs with other tenants. The answer also impacts elevator performance.

5. Speaking of, how is elevator performance?

If there’s a lone lift, expect a wait to get to your floor. Also determine whether you care if the elevator opens directly into your office or, as is often the case with suites, in front of other businesses.

6. How does freight access work?

This is especially important if your business regularly moves large quantities of goods, but also helpful for the move-in process.

7. Is heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) included in the rent?

And if so, does it include shared building spaces as well as your office? If late nights and weekend hours are a regular occurrence, you’ll also want to know if the system operates after hours—and if that’ll cost you extra.

8. Is there on-site maintenance?

Will you need to hire a cleaning service or is one provided? Who do you contact if the elevator or electricity stops working, and how responsive are they?

9. What is the landlord’s build-out policy?

The build-out is the construction and renovation process that transforms an empty space into a functioning office. Landlords handle this in different ways: Some manage the renovation process for you from end-to-end, others let the tenant take control and offer an allowance to fund the work. Each has pros and cons. Ask which approach the landlord prefers and discuss the best move forward with your broker.

10. How are telecommunications installed?

This can be surprisingly tricky business. Communicating through the ether sometimes requires hammer-and-saw renovations, which your landlord will need to approve—and likely send you a bill. So find out how installations are typically managed and ask your SquareFoot broker for advice on seamless transitions.

Knowledge is power but it’s also a lot of information to track. Our expert brokers can help ensure things don’t fall through the cracks and guide you through the process of finding a great office and building.

Get in touch with one of our brokers.


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D: 613.688.7200

130 Slater Street, Suite 1000

Ottawa, ON K1P 6E2

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